Median starting pay: $35,100
Median mid-career pay: $54,900
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It's no surprise that education isn't exactly a high-paying career. And with budget cuts and a struggling economy, paying the bills has become even harder for teachers and educators.
Danny Kofke graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in elementary education and now works as a special ed teacher at an elementary school in Jefferson, Ga. On top of his low salary, he's been forced to take unpaid furlough days.
But the satisfaction of helping students learn and grow pays off for many teachers.
"I have the power to teach and help my students acquire skills and accomplish tasks they could not before -- that is a huge reward," said Kofke, who teaches students with severe mental disabilities. "I may never drive a BMW or live in a 5,000 square foot house, but I get to go to a job that I love and that, to me, is priceless."